If your beer of choice is an India Pale Ale or IPA, you're not alone. The Brewers Association reports that it's the third most popular style of beer. But if you indulge too much, your macros might end up at the upper limit, especially since IPA carbs are often higher than other beers.
IPA Calories and Carbs
According to the USDA, a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer has 155 calories, 1.66 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat and 12.8 grams of carbohydrates. If you're wondering why the numbers don't add up, it's because of the alcohol, which is 14 grams.
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Upgrading to an IPA beer will increase both calories and carbs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest points out that, in general, the calories in IPA beer can range from 170 to 240 per 12-ounce serving. Which means, for some brands, the IPA calories are almost double that of a regular beer.
If you follow a low-carb diet, you might be wondering how your favorite beverage fits into the plan. The good news? Moderation is key when it comes to weight loss. The not so good news? The IPA carbs and calories are on the high end, with many styles of IPA beer racking up 200 plus calories.
Read more: How Bad is Alcohol for Weight Loss?
For example, Samuel Adams New England IPA has 211 calories, and a higher carb count than a lighter, non-IPA beer. On the lower side for both IPA calories and IPA carbs is Founders All Day IPA, which has 150 calories and 10.9 grams of carbohydrates in a 12-ounce bottle or can. And Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA takes it to the high end with 237 calories and 14.1 grams of carbohydrates for a 12-ounce serving. (You must be 21 or over to access the pages on these websites where the nutritional information is.)
But if you plan for the occasional IPA beer, you can adjust the number of carbs and calories you consume elsewhere. That said, there is a tendency to make poor dietary choices as your alcohol consumption goes up, according to a March 2015 study published in Current Obesity Reports. With that in mind, minimizing your alcohol intake is a smart choice, especially if you're trying to drop a few pounds.
Beer and Your Health
Minimizing your consumption is also something the experts recommend. In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines say if you drink alcohol, it should be in moderation. They define moderation for an adult of legal drinking age as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out that the health risks associated with anything more than moderate drinking is something to consider before you indulge in more than a few beers. In addition to added calories, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that drinking too much can lead to serious health consequences.
Read more: Bad Effects of Beer
Some of the more concerning health risks include an increase in heart disease, damage to the pancreas, negative impact on how the brain functions, a weakening of the immune system and an increase in certain cancers such as head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking for men as 15 drinks or more per week. And for women, heavy drinking is defined as consuming eight or more drinks per week.
If you are watching your calories and carbs, drinking at the higher end of what is recommended will slow your efforts, especially when you consider the IPA calories can be anywhere from 150 to close to 240 calories per 12-ounce can or bottle. Even if you drink two beers per day, you are adding, on average, an extra 300 to 500 calories to your daily totals.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Beer"
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: "Calories in Alcohol"
- Current Obesity Reports: "Alcohol Consumption and Obesity"
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: "Appendix 9. Alcohol"
- The Brewers Association: "Brewers Publications Presents Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing the Boundaries of India Pale Ale"
- Samuel Adams: "Sam Adams New England IPA"
- Founders Brewing Co.: "FAQ"
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.: "Beer Nutrition"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Eat Right and Drink Responsibly"
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Alcohol and Public Health"
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: "Alcohols Effects on the Body"
- Harvard School of Public Health: Alcohol - Balancing the Risks and Benefits
- Brew Dudes: American IPA Recipe